I fell under the spell of the late Bruce Forsyth after the Magpies emerged triumphant over Waikato in last week's rugby outing up there in Hamilton.

Bruce Forsyth...rugby?

Now there's an unlikely alliance but it fits because I was telling anyone I came across "didn't they do well".

For those whose television lives did not interact with Brucie it needs to be explained that one of his well-noted lines was that one, although he used the term "he" or "she" rather than "they" when it came to summing up how they went on the conveyor belt/gifts segment.


So yep, didn't they do well, the lads in black and white who this season are sparking rather nicely.

And there's something about dealing it out to the Mooloos...the lads we lifted the grand Ranfurly Shield off back in the hazy '60s.

The Mooloos versus the Magpies...got a nice ring to it.

The fine run of form of late (and I hope by writing such things I do not put the mockers on the boys) takes me back to those halcyon days when the shield spent a season in these parts....and for much of that time stored under the folks' bed at home.

Dad was the local rugby union custodian and fix-it chap over at the old after match rooms at McLean Park so we got to keep the shield at home lots of the time.

When we picked it up again a couple of seasons back I did come forward with a proposal to do my bit and hang on to it when it wasn't required for school visits of whatever but never heard a thing back.

Maybe next time, because the way the chaps are performing at the moment it must be on the cards.

Although that all comes down to the complicated equations of who ends up playing who if someone were to lift it off Otago and who would they face and who would they then lose it to etc etc...


Basically, all is running swimmingly across the region's sporting front and that's great to see.

For the women rugger crew dealt North Harbour a bit of the hiding last weekend and of course the boys in blue, with Rovers attached to their name, picked up the Chatham Cup which looks an absolute treat in their grand clubrooms.

And the Hastings High School chaps also triumphed on the national scale.

Ahh yes, there is a spring in the steps this spring and accordingly the weather has begun to settle nicely.

Roger Moroney is an award-winning journalist for Hawke's Bay Today and observer of the slightly off-centre.
Roger Moroney is an award-winning journalist for Hawke's Bay Today and observer of the slightly off-centre.

As it has in Japan where rugby has caused many of the locals in those parts to forget about looking for whales...start looking for match tickets instead because what could be the most hard-fought Rugby World Cup yet staged is set to ignite.

Now back in the days when the Ranfurly Shield was wrapped in a blanket and lying on the floor under a bed, of which I would charge fellow schoolmates 10 cents to get their picture taken with it, no one would have gone anywhere near suggesting that a global rugby competition should be staged in Japan.

The only thing I, as a lad, knew about sport in Japan was the wrestling...where giant lads in loose giant underwear grappled with each other on a stage surrounded by serious looking "referees" in traditional Japanese dress.



But today Japan has forged a name in the game, and not just for getting the Rugby World Cup.

They have some pretty good teams taking the fields in front of huge crowds over that way, and don't we know it.

For there are a lot of Kiwis involved in that whole equation and good on them.

Spread the word.

Spread the skill.

But just don't give any defensive secrets away.

Back on this local rugby front, wouldn't it be grand if, at half-time during the next Magpies outing, the wonderful buoyant sounds of the late Bob Houston's "There's Something About a Magpie" were to surge through the speakers.

That was the most inspiring anthem I ever heard during those wonder years of the '60s.

Wonder if someone could smuggle a CD of it into the public address HQ at the Tokyo Stadium?